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Mercury’s Diana Taurasi claps back after 13th elimination-game win

Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas (5) confronts Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi after being fouled during the first half of a single-elimination WNBA basketball playoff game Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in Uncasville, Conn. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day via AP)

Diana Taurasi had done it before, 12 times to be exact.

The Phoenix Mercury’s franchise star remained perfect in 13 playoff-deciding games, scoring 27 points in the Mercury’s 96-86 victory over the Connecticut Sun on Thursday in the second round of the WNBA playoffs. But she did it with a little more savagery.

The story began with a Thursday pre-game Instagram post by Sun guard Courtney Williams, the Mercury’s 2016 first-round pick.

Gooo timeee!! Playoffs babyyyyy šŸ˜¤šŸ’ŖšŸ½

A post shared by Courtney Williams (@courtneywilliams10) on

Williams’ teammate, Jasmine Thomas, added a little more fuel for Taurasi during the game by clapping in the Mercury player’s face.

It was Taurasi who was — not coincidentally — clapping when the game ended.

“You can post Instagram pictures, you can clap in people’s faces. That’s not going to get you a win though,” Taurasi told ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe.

Asked after the game about how she’s gone 13-0 in elimination games, Taurasi didn’t have an answer.

“A lot of it is luck. A lot of it is having great teammates,” she told reporters. “You don’t do it alone in this sport. We relish these moments where it’s up to you if you want to keep playing.”

The Mercury will face Seattle in the conference semifinals, starting Sunday.

“Seattle is the No. 1 team in the league. Breanna Stewart has had a fantastic season,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. “They have a really strong five and good bench that can come in. We haven’t played Seattle with the lineup we have. We know it’s a five-game series. We’ll focus on that first game.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.